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March 16, 2023

Human and AI Partnerships are Integral to the Future of Customer Experience

Human and AI Partnerships are Integral to the Future of Customer Experience

Tim Sherwood

Global Vice-President of Avaya Product & Offer Management

The age-old debate on technology versus human capability remains inconclusive. But in this time of artificial intelligence (AI), analytics, and cloud, we’re seeing more opportunities to think of how humans and machines can come together as a team, rather than being opposing forces. From diagnosing diseases and delivering effortless customer experiences, to understanding human preferences and providing new customer insights, the human and AI partnership is evolving, and more in sync than ever. That’s making our lives simpler and more convenient.  

Gartner predicts that, by 2025, context-driven analytics and AI models will replace 60 percent of existing models built on traditional data. We will see new types of data, including unstructured data such as audio, video, and images, being leveraged to give organizations a competitive advantage, get more value and develop new use cases to set the stage for a new customer-driven era.   

This offers a glimpse into a future of close human and AI partnerships, where we think, collaborate and create augmented by technology and business intelligence. This kind of partnership is important when the objective is to empower customers with personalized and relevant insights that can help them make informed decisions to buy products or subscribe to services or how best to use them, which in turn adds to the trust and loyalty in a company.   

A real-life example of this can be found in an intelligent virtual agent or chatbot used by organizations to provide personalized service and guidance to people. Chatbots use AI and scripted rules to ask questions, identify the challenge and resolve customer queries.  

Chatbots appear to be a fool-proof solution to creating and delivering a good customer experience with fewer human resources, but recent Avaya research with Ipsos indicates that based on their last interaction with a virtual agent, only 1 in 3 customers would recommend that business to others. This is because only 50 percent of them had their issue or concern resolved. This lack of success is due in part to the historical complexity of developing and delivering effective virtual agent solutions.     

Traditionally, it could take months to deploy a virtual chatbot, by which time consumer preferences, business processes, or even basic company information may have changed. Relying on a chatbot alone is a failure to leverage the potential of human-to-AI partnership.   

Avaya Virtual Agent removes this complexity, enabling organizations to quickly deploy Avaya-designed, pre-built, cloud-based self-service agents instead of building them from scratch. It leverages the Avaya Experience Platform™, which reimagines communications composability, providing customers with the option of constructing their own workflows or subscribing to pre-built experiences. This also enables businesses to participate in the Experience Economy by elevating their customer interactions beyond just making them more efficient to also making them more engaging to capture increased customer time and attention. The Avaya Experience Builders™ community can assist businesses with getting started or with addressing more advanced deployment requirements. 

The ready-to-deploy virtual agent is designed to deliver the full benefits of virtual, AI-based communication experiences by leaning into the human-to-AI partnership. The solution reduces call volumes to live agents, decreasing average call wait times, it also increases agent productivity by providing important context to the humans who may have to solve more complex customer issues. Most importantly, though it delivers true speed-to-value, enabling companies to infuse high-value capabilities into the customer experience in a matter of days. This means you can scale your AI efforts while leveraging an existing CX framework, building a true partnership between human and machine.  

That partnership is a win-win-win situation for the company, contact center agents, and the customer. The company can swiftly compose the kinds of interactions that its customers expect; the call center agent is given access to a single, easy-to-use dashboard that eliminates the need to train and helps dedicate more time towards meeting customer expectations; and the heightened level of responsiveness is welcomed by the customer. 

These advanced capabilities and technology potential also does away with misconceptions about technology taking over jobs. This perception stems from the inability of companies to have an open discussion with employees about embracing AI across business functions. Using technology with a purpose is known to help employees focus more on business innovation and value-added tasks, rather than spending time doing mundane work. It is a company’s responsibility to demonstrate and educate their employees on how technology can augment and support their work to achieve satisfaction.   

In today’s experience economy, and the data analysis it requires to compete in it, human abilities can fall short. But relying entirely on machines is hardly the right approach – organizations need both the automated, fast-calculating power that AI brings to bear. But they also need the human ingenuity that’s required to solve complex issues. The focus, then, should be on adopting AI technologies that enhance the skill sets of your employees.  

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